January 31, 2006 Subject:
For those unfamiliar with Hem, their sound could best be described as a mellow, cinematic sort of bluesy/jazzy country, showcased by sweet-as-honey, and often harmonized, vocals and sincere, simple-yet-elegant lyrics. This recording was probably my first true introduction to Hem (beyond hearing St. Charlene at pandora.com)...and to be honest, it was difficult to get used to the studio arrangements after hearing this wonderful set. The audio quality is exceptional, the bass is rich, and the many instruments and vocals are well separated and easily distinguished. The audience is enthusiastic, yet very courteous. The bands performance is outstanding, the set list is long, and the between-song dialog is often quite funny.
The only disappointment might be the absence of Dan Messé, the bands primary songwriter/pianist. His absence, however, is understandable, as you will learn from the dialogbesides, Greg Pliska fills in on the keyboards quite agreeably.
My thanks go out to the band for so kindly allowing the taping and trading of their shows. I wouldnt be the fan I am had it not been for this generosity. Having not yet had the opportunity to see this band live, Im also very grateful to Geoff & Kelly Hamilton for taking the time to tape and post this recordingit truly gives the feeling of being there.